Alessandra Belloni & I Giullari di Piazza Present Spider Dance: the Mystical Power of Tarantella

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A World Premiere of Techno Tarantella in New York City.

In celebration of the Summer Solstice, Alessandra Belloni and I Giullari di Piazza cordially invite you to “TARANTELLA-SPIDER DANCE. A Trance Dance Production” on Thursday, June 29, 2006 at 8:00 PM – Synod Hall at St. John the Divine (110th Street and Amsterdam Avenue, New York City). Tickets $25 - call 212 665 4516. DJ Dance party to follow with wine.    The event is funded in part by the New York State Council on the Art, the City of New York – Department of Cultural Affairs and the Coccia Foundation.

New York, the town of Sex in the City, will be the perfect stage for this performance. The "Spider Dance" or Tarantella is a quite erotic trance dance ritual from Southern Italy, which has been used to cure the mythical bite of the tarantula. Similar wild and orgiastic rituals originated in ancient Greece as a rite of devotion to the god Dionysus/Bacchus (god of ecstasy and wine). The women involved in these rites were called Baccanti, and later TARANTATE, and they danced the PIZZICA TARANTATA (which means, "the bite of the spider tarantula", also called "the bite of love"). This “bite of love” has driven people over the centuries, especially women, to dance in a wild frenzy, in order to free themselves of repressed sexual desires.

The show is then a cross-cultural musical journey about the development of Tarantella, from ancient Greece through Southern Italy, in the Middle Ages, Renaissance to the modern times. It also explores social and political connection between today times and the Crusades, when this form of euphoric dance exploded as collective healing trance ritual. By spinning and stomping their feet to the fast 12/8 beat, the participants symbolically expelled the "poison" from the mythical bite of the tarantula from their bodies. Through this musical exorcism, they were able to release themselves from the prevailing fears of the day: death by contagious disease and the coming end of the world. Today, more the ever, everyone, men and women, can identify with the feeling of being trapped in the spider web of society and the need to cut free from the web…

The new "Spider Dance" production and CD infuses the ancient melodies and instrumentation of the authentic tarantella with modern electronic dance beats. The live production will also feature new choreography that blends modern dance and ancient healing trance dances, powerful ritual drumming and chants in honor of the Black Madonna, erotic and sensual love songs, women work chants.

Written and directed by Alessandra Belloni, the dance company includes 8 dynamic dancers and acrobats, sensual young women and men of different cultural backgrounds, who will enact the story of the tarantella and the tarantati, using elements of the folk dances and the trance rituals. Laying on their backs and jumping like spiders, spinning, stomping, their sensuality will recreate the wild ecstatic rites and bring the audience to a fever pitch during the dance known as Pizzica Tarantata.

The spirit of this new show is to involve audiences of all ages, especially young people, in a collective ritual trance dance of liberation. On a large scale production the show will make a huge contribution to demonstrate the healing power of music and dance, and has the potential to become a cultural phenomenon such as RIVERDANCE.

Music by John La Barbera in collaboration with Joe Deninzon on electric violin

Aerial dancer: Carol Knopf (in the role of Aracne-Spider lady). Stilt dancer: Mark Mindek.

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Daniela Puglielli
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